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Cablegate: Yunnan: China's Main Counternarcotics Battlefield Sees

VZCZCXRO1066
RR RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHCN #0169/01 2380539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260539Z AUG 09
FM AMCONSUL CHENGDU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3375
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 4051

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHENGDU 000169

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL AND EAP/CM
JUSTICE FOR ICITAP AND OPDAT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PGOV PREL CH
SUBJECT: YUNNAN: CHINA'S MAIN COUNTERNARCOTICS BATTLEFIELD SEES
DOMESTIC SUCCESSES, FACES INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES

CHENGDU 00000169 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This cable contains sensitive but unclassified
information - not for distribution on the Internet.

2. (SBU) Summary: Narcotics control is making progress in Yunnan
Province, the heart of Chinese drug trafficking, a senior
provincial official told Consul General, but interdicting
imports from the neighboring Golden Triangle remains difficult.
The great majority of narcotics in the province are passing
through rather than being produced or consumed in the province,
and the number of addicts in Yunnan has fallen. In the area of
treatment and rehabilitation, the Kunming Treatment Center for
Drug Addicts is a national model, the official said. End
Summary.

Yunnan: China's Main Battlefield for Narcotics

--------------------------------------------- -

3. (SBU) Yunnan Province is the main battlefield for control of
narcotics in China, Yunnan Narcotics Control Bureau Deputy
Director Xu Yujiang told Consul General August 12 in Kunming.
Noting that he had hosted the DEA Assistant Regional Director
from Bangkok and Beijing's DEA Attache the previous day on a
field visit to the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in
southern Yunnan, Xu emphasized the "great harm" drugs do to
Yunnan owing to its proximity to the Golden Triangle. Party
Committee and Provincial Government officials pay close
attention to narcotics control, he said, and all branches of
public security are involved in efforts to control narcotics.
For 20 years, he said, Yunnan Province has given priority to
drug prevention and control, prohibiting cultivation,
production, use, and sales of narcotics.

4. (SBU) Xu emphasized that Yunnan serves as a major drug
transshipment point and that there is little drug production
that takes place in the province. Asked by the CG about drug
use in the province, Xu admitted that this does remain an issue
owing to Yunnan's longstanding heroin problem, though the number
of heroin addicts has decreased recently, he said. Problems
with increasing use of "new" drugs like methamphetamines are
occurring mainly in China's East, he claimed, but due to
Yunnan's relatively low incomes such drugs have not taken hold
here.

The People's War on Drugs

-------------------------

5. (SBU) Briefing CG on measures Yunnan authorities have taken
historically to control the flow of drugs into the province, Xu
reported that from 1982-2007, Yunnan Province handled 190,000
drug cases, captured 155 tons of drugs, and intercepted
thousands of tons of precursor chemicals being smuggled from
Yunnan into neighboring countries. More than 50 narcotics
control officers lost their lives, he said, with more than
another 300 injured. From 2005-2007, Yunnan and other provinces
in China carried out a "People's War on Drugs," and in these
three years Yunnan Province handled 54,000 drug cases, captured
roughly 62,000 drug-related criminals, and confiscated 28.8 tons
of drugs, Xu said. (Comment: officials' use here of the Chinese
equivalent for "handled" or "dealt with" generally refers to all
manner and status of drug cases, including perpetrators being
fined, detained, arrested, investigated, prosecuted, sentenced,
or sent for treatment. Due to their lack of specificity of
meaning these numbers are difficult to reconcile precisely with
figures published in other sources, such as Chinese news
reports, but they appear reasonably close. End Comment.)

Situation Improving, But Still Serious

--------------------------------------

CHENGDU 00000169 002.2 OF 002

6. (SBU) In recent years drugs entering Yunnan from the Golden
Triangle have decreased, the number of addicts in Yunnan has
decreased sharply, and the consumer market has shrunk greatly,
Xu asserted. In 2008, Yunnan handled 13,158 drug cases, carried
out 15,018 arrests, and captured heroin, amphetamines, and opium
totaling 6,536kg. In that year, Yunnan authorities captured
1,238kg of opium alone, an increase of 15.6 percent over the
previous year.

7. (SBU) Despite this progress, Xu continued, drugs entering
China from abroad remain a serious problem, with poppy
cultivation in the Golden Triangle continuing to increase.
"Methods used for penetrating the border are always changing,"
he lamented. Production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS),
including drugs such as ecstasy, are also a serious problem, he
added, noting that there were 3,078 ATS cases in 2008, with
authorities capturing 2,251kg.

Yunnan Taking New Measures to Combat Drugs

------------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Noting the PRC's passage of national anti-drug
legislation in 2008, Xu told CG that in order to consolidate
recent counter-narcotics achievements, the Party and government
were conducting a second round of the People's War on Drugs from
2008-2010. In Yunnan, officials are tightening measures to
reduce cross-border flows of narcotics, increasing interdictions
(including along land, air, and postal routes), and are
"striking hard" at transnational and trans-border drug crimes.
At the same time, Yunnan authorities are organizing public
education campaigns and increasing international cooperation
with border countries, including assisting those countries with
crop replacement programs to help combat poppy cultivation.
Yunnan Province is also promoting drug treatment and
rehabilitation, and working to establish "drug-free" communities
and to reduce the number of addicts in society. Yunnan
currently has 26 drug-free counties, Xu reported, and 724
drug-free towns.

9. (SBU) Asked by the CG about treatment centers, Xu explained
that government treatment centers in Yunnan are managed by
Public Security. These "open centers" (meaning those seeking
treatment are not sequestered from their families) primarily
conduct education and training. The Kunming Treatment Center
for Drug Addicts is a model center for China, he said.

10. (SBU) Comment: The overall picture Yunnan Narcotics Control
Bureau officials presented to us tracks with Chinese news
reports on counter-narcotics efforts in China, and with
information presented in the Department's annual International
Narcotics Control Strategy Report. This suggests moderate
success by the PRC in improving domestic aspects of China's
narcotics problem, while highlighting the continued
international challenge the country's neighbors pose for
counter-narcotics efforts. End Comment.

11. (U) This cable has been coordinated with Embassy Beijing.
BROWN

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